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I’d used some Sick Leave for the time off from work today for a dentist appointment, but I got a call this morning that he wasn’t feeling well and that they would call back later to reschedule.

Should I call my work to let them know I'm available after all? And if I'm not needed, should I change my leave request to Annual Leave instead of Sick Leave?

In this case, I called my work to let them know I was available after all, but I'm wondering what is the most professional way to handle kind of situation?

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I'm not sure where you are from, but I thought you were supposed to use things like Personal Leave for things like appointments, and that Sick Leave was for when something unexpected happened related to your health that prevents you from coming into work that day. I suppose if I did have an occasion where I was using Sick Leave for an appointment that got cancelled, I would call and tell them it was cancelled and I could come in to work if they wanted, or give them the option of letting me take a Personal day off instead (if that's what I wanted). –  Rachel Oct 25 '12 at 15:36
@Rachel - Different companies have different policies. Some lump sick time and personal time in one bucket and just call it sick time(or personal time) –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Oct 25 '12 at 16:08
@Rachel: My most recent job had three kinds of leave: vacation, personal days, and "family/health" days. The latter could be used for illness or for medical appointments either for yourself or a family member (if you had to take them to an appointment). –  Keith Thompson Oct 25 '12 at 23:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Wow. Interesting thread of comments above. Chad gave me enough to ponder that I figured I'd write in an answer instead of permutating the massively commented answer past all recognition.

OK, so, redacting towards consensus:

Depends on job -

In jobs with longer term, big projects where work is assigned informally, and a majority of tasks don't have to be done on a fixed day/time then coming in an helping out (and in return, not taking any time off) is probably appreciated. No one minds an extra guy coming by to help when the help is helpful and doesn't take away from anyone else's compensation.

In cases where the number of people needed for a given shift is finite, where work and profits are shared more granularly, or where specific tasks are assigned on a day by day basis, then it's quite likely that the team or manager had to make other plans to cover for you, and changing the game plan on no notice will not be appreciated. In those cases - check in first. In a crisis, many bosses will be THRILLED that you are free, and you'll be a hero. While you're calling in is a good time to say "oh, and is this sick time or absense?" since company policy is likely to vary.

How to notify

This has as much to do with the nature of your work as whether or not to just head in to work. If you have a small team with intimate contact with the boss in an informal setting, you may be able to stroll on in. If you know you have a full lineup of work ahead of you (as in many salaried positions), you may be able to drop your boss a note that you'll be working on your backlog and just start on in.

But in disconnected teams, make sure your boss knows. It is hard to predict just how much the manager will care, but people always prefer to have more knowledge. This is especially true in cases of work at home, remote work, or work with a boss who is so overscheduled that email is the only way to find him.

Also - be aware of how your boss uses communication tools - IM, Voicemail, email, a sticky note, in person conversation - it will all work, but pick the medium that is most likely to get to your boss in a timely manner. This one is a "high speed, low content" sort of message.

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Just go to the office and get to work.

When you see you boss tell him it was rescheduled.

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This probably works most of the time. But in a situation where your work is carefully planned(someone else was scheduled to do your work) this may not be an option. Also if there is a disaster like a fire, before you see your boss no one may expect you to be in so no one knows to look for you. It would irritate me if someone reporting to me did this casually. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Oct 25 '12 at 20:08
@Morons: This happens a lot in retail/restaurant jobs. They usually know how busy they'll be as the day goes on, and they usually don't want to have too many people there when there's not enough work to do. (Call center jobs may be similar, but I don't know enough to say.) –  Adam V Oct 26 '12 at 19:33
@Morons - customer service positions: support, help desk, teachers/instructors, hospitality staff, and anyone else who needs to be there to support their business during a specific time. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Oct 26 '12 at 20:54

At places I've worked in the past, as an engineer, standard protocol would be to call (or in some cases email would be fine too) your boss and tell him/her your appointment was canceled so you will coming in the office after all, but arriving late (due to the last minute cancellation).

Taking a personal day instead of returning to work, for something that is usually partial-day absence, could come across in less than the most flattering light, though obviously, whether to come in depends on your line of work and the standard protocol. If you worked on an assembly line or as a teacher or waitress, a substitute may already be scheduled for your entire shift.

When in doubt ask your boss or HR department what the protocol is.

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what is the most professional way to handle kind of situation?

Well, it is your sick time and I assume after you use it all you are suppose to use your personal/vacation time for sick time.....?

Technically you can use your sick time at your discretion (for non-vacation appointment, health, etc type things), so I think the important part here is your intent.

You intended to use the time for a sick leave activity but it didn't happen due to circumstances out of your control...so you should be OK leaving it as sick time.

However, if you still want to go back into work - nothing is stopping you from doing that and canceling your sick time request.

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